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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Will Lead a Delegation to Houston, Texas -- Explore City’s Medical & Life-Sciences Hub as Model for Providence

Governor to be Joined by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras***

***Will also be Accompanied by University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley, Brown President Ruth J. Simmons, RI Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Keith W. Stokes***

PROVIDENCE, RI-- Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced plans today to travel to Houston, Texas later this month to examine the Texas Medical Center as a potential model for a medical, life-sciences, and research hub in Providence.

“Throughout my campaign for Governor, I spoke of my experience visiting Houston several years ago and seeing all of the economic activity and job creation surrounding the growth of medical- and research-related industries there,” Governor Chafee said. “I believe that Houston – together with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cleveland – could be a model for bringing job creation and economic growth to Providence and Rhode Island. We have valuable land opened up by the relocation of Route 195, and a partnership between our universities, the City of Providence, hospitals, non-profits, and private businesses could transform this area into a hub of health- and research-related economic activity and job creation.”

“The visit to Houston is about meeting with leaders in these fields to determine what has worked there and made that area so successful,” Governor Chafee continued. “Then we can evaluate those lessons and potentially apply them to our broader strategy for growing the economy of Rhode Island and creating jobs.”

“I am delighted that the newly elected Mayor of Providence, who shares my commitment to job creation and economic recovery, will be joining me on this visit,” Governor Chafee said. “In addition, I am thrilled that the Presidents of several of our leading universities will be making the trip, as well. Our institutions of higher education will be essential partners in our efforts to grow the state’s economy and bring good, high-paying jobs to Rhode Island.”

Governor Chafee will also be accompanied by Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Executive Director Keith W. Stokes and Chief of Staff and Executive Counsel Patrick A. Rogers, who is the Governor’s principal liaison with the RIEDC on economic development issues. The trip will be the first of several possible fact-finding investigations in cities that have successfully capitalized on medical- and research-related industries, such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Worcester.

The group will depart on Sunday, February 20 and will return the following day. Governor Chafee will pay his own travel expenses and hotel accommodations will be shared in an attempt to minimize costs.

The group will arrive late in the day Sunday and spend Monday at the city’s Texas Medical Center (TMC), which is the largest medical center in the world, containing dozens of facilities and private and public institutions devoted to patient care, research, and education. Monday’s agenda is tentative and subject to change.

At 7:30 Monday morning, the group will tour the main campuses of TMC. Following the tour, at 8:15, the group will have a working breakfast and meeting with key staff of the TMC including Richard E. Wainerdi P.E., Ph.D., its President and Chief Executive Officer. The breakfast will feature a short presentation on the history, scope and impact of the TMC on the Texas Gulf Coast region. At 10:30, the group will have a meeting with research directors and leaders at selected academic institutions connected with TMC, the subject of which will be: “Concentrating life science research to spur research growth and development.” At noon, the group will begin a working lunch with academic and health care leaders from selected member institutions and the Greater Houston Partnership; discussion at the lunch will focus on how business interacts with TMC member institutions to benefit the community. At 1:30, the group will enter a meeting with selected academic leaders from member institutions in the life sciences, including nursing, pharmacy and allied health professions; the subject of the meeting will be: “Workforce development as a critical element of economic growth in healthcare.” At 2:30, the group will leave TMC, and will depart Houston soon thereafter.

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